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Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) help Del Monte Foods be best in class

Del Monte Foods’ new Topeka DC brings laser-guided AGVs from manufacturing into distribution. The result is a best-in-class materials handling system that minimizes costs with room to expand in the future.

Del Monte relies on more than 30 fork-equipped AGVs for put away and pallet picking in the distribution center. Pictured: Keith Arntson, vice president of distribution operations for Del Monte Foods.

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
October 18, 2010

Automatic guided vehicles, or AGVs, have been a staple of materials handling in a manufacturing environment for decades. It’s not uncommon to find a fleet of 20 or more vehicles delivering product to the assembly line in a large automotive plant.

But, AGVs in a distribution center? Not so much. In DCs, they have largely been relegated to moving product from the plant to an adjoining DC. That may be about to change, if the 420,000-square-foot distribution center opened by Del Monte Foods in Topeka, Kan., last October is any indication.

There, Del Monte has put to work a fleet of 39 laser-guided AGVs (Elettric80,

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About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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